Associate Professor Aaron McFadyen

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Senior Lecturer, School of Electrical Engineering and Robotics

PhD (Queensland University of Technology)

Dr Aaron McFadyen is a Senior Lecturer in the Electrical Engineering and Robotics discipline within the Faculty of Engineering (FoE). Coupling a professional aerospace engineering background and education with formal research training in autonomous systems, Aaron is passionate about working with industry and solving key enabling problems in the robotics and aerospace domains. He has received over $1.5M in research funding as principle/lead researcher (co-investigator funding $>3M) from the ARC, Queensland Government, Federal Government and multiple industry partners. He has won 4 highly competitive research fellowships (including an ARC DECRA) and currently leads exciting commercial research projects with industry.

Aaron's research spans the aerospace, robotics and control domains (Aaron's Google Scholar). He has spent recent years researching unmanned (drone) traffic management systems (multi-agent control, network design), air traffic modelling techniques (machine learning, optimisation) and quantitative risk analysis (applied statistics and data analytics) to support  future airspace environments. He has consulted to multiple aviation authorities, addressed global aviation bodies (JARUS, ICAO), won best paper awards and developed key enabling technologies with industry partners. Most recently, his research underpins Australia's Automated Airspace Authorization system for unmanned aircraft (drones) - a real world outcome, developed with industry (Airservices and CASA) and impacting the drone sector.

With Aaron's background, he maintains supervision of Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students working on control, aerospace and robotics problems. He is passionate about industry engagement opportunities for students with the view to provide a richer research experience centered around real world applications and pathways to impact - helping to create a bright future for society.

Significant Awards, Achievements and Qualifications

  • (Grant) 2020 DECRA - Discovery Early Career Research Fellow (ARC)
  • (Grant) 2020 Advance Queensland Mid Career Research Fellow (Queensland Government)
  • (Award) 2019 Best Unmanned Traffic Management Paper Award (IEEE/AIAA DASC)
  • (Grant) 2015 Accelerate Research Fellowship (Queensland Government)
  • (Grant) 2012 Endevour Research Fellowship (Australian Government)
  • (Award) 2004 University Half Blue and Green and Gold Recipient
  • (Qualification) 2001 Private Pilots License, Aerobatics CSU and Tailwheel Endorsements  (CASA)

Additional information

Research/Academic Experience

  • Senior Lecturer (2020-Present) - Electrical Engineering and Robotics (QUT, Brisbane,  Australia)
  • Research: Unmanned Traffic Management (quantitative risk analysis, control system technology)
  • Lecturer (2018-2020) - Electrical Engineering and Robotics (QUT, Brisbane,  Australia)
    • Research: Unmanned Traffic Management (quantitative risk analysis, control system technology)
  • Research Fellow (2015-2018) - Robotics and Autonomous Systems (QUT, Brisbane,  Australia)
    • Projects: Lead researcher for airspace modelling and flight plan design for UAS/RPAS integration.
    • Skills: Data mining (air traffic data), machine learning (clustering & classification), control and optimization (flight planning), statistics, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Air Traffic Management, industry engagement/collaboration, project management, teaching & supervision
  • Research Engineer (2013-2015) - Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA, Brisbane,  Australia)
    • Projects: Lead researcher for UAS Scoping study for UAS/RPAS integration into Australian civil airspace, scoping study for UAS/RPAS in plant biosecurity & buffel grass detection using UAS/RPAS
    • Skills: UAS/RPAS integration issues, air traffic management, flight rules/regulations, telecommunications systems/networks,  imaging sensors & systems, industry engagement, managing customer expectations
  • Visiting Researcher (2012) - Autonomous Systems Laboratory (ETH, Zurich, Switzerland)
    • Aerial robotics, visual control, nonlinear model predictive control, estimation
  • PhD Student (2010-2015) -  Robotics and Autonomous Systems (QUT, Brisbane, Australia)
    • Aerial robotics, visual control, nonlinear model predictive control, estimation, collaboration building

Professional Experience

  • Engineer (2006-2007) -  Commercial Flight Simulation (CAE, Dubai, U.A.E)
    • Operation and maintenance, troubleshooting and upgrade of all hardware and software components for various Classic and SimXXI CAE aircraft simulators including helicopters (Bell412EP), business jets (G4, G5, Hawker 800/800XP) and commercial jets (B737, B777, A320, A330, A340).  Pilot liaison (end user engagement/feedback for development)